US officials warn against ban on Qualcomm chips

Government agencies would have a harder time communicating with the public in an emergency if imports of mobile phones containing Qualcomm chips are banned, a federal official, quoted by a Reuters report, said.

The Reuters report said the US International Trade Commission is considering the import ban in response to Qualcomm's infringement of a Broadcom patent involving battery-saving technology.

The Reuters report quoted Federal Emergency Management Agency program manager David Webb as saying that the import ban would make it more difficult for people to receive alerts and warnings from FEMA.

'An (import ban) would significantly impact the type and quality of information which can be exchanged between responders and citizens "&brkbar;, severely impacting FEMA's ability to communicate critical information at disaster sites,' Webb, quoted by Reuters, in a written submission to the ITC, said.

The report said ITC is trying to decide whether the ban would cause public interest problems that outweigh Broadcom's patent rights. The agency plans to issue its decision by May 8.

An ITC administrative judge concluded in October that Qualcomm had infringed Broadcom's patent, but stopped short of a ban on US sales of mobile phones with Qualcomm chips, the report further said.

Webb's comments were echoed by other public safety advocates who said advanced features available in Qualcomm's chips such as video capability and faster transmission speeds provided advantages to emergency responders, the report further said.